Will Optus Hit Its Own Speed Hump?

Will Optus Hit Its Own Speed Hump?

Although it isn’t growing at quite the same clip as Telstra, Optus has also seen an impressive growth in its mobile broadband customer base, with 94,000 customers added over the last three months and a total pool of 1.55 million mobile broadband users. Does that also place it at risk of hitting a speed hump?

Picture by Alpha

It’s difficult to compare the results directly, since Telstra’s figures cover a six-month period while Optus’ figures (via parent company SingTel) are quarterly. But with Telstra adding 436,000 customers over six months, it seems to be acquiring customers at about twice the rate of Optus.

In performance terms, that’s good news for Optus: not growing so fast means it won’t see its networks saturated, and the consequent speed drops, quite as quickly. But it does have one disadvantage: Optus’ own plans for long-term LTE networks (which offer better speeds) aren’t as ambitious as Telstra’s.

As we’ve previously reported, Optus will begin LTE trials in Port Stephens and Newcastle in April this year, and will have service in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth in the second half of the year. Those plans were reaffirmed in the latest results announcement, along with one small clarification: the next stage of the rollout will also be for capital cities. means Optus’ LTE option won’t be competing with Telstra’s in terms of regional coverage for quite a while. It also means that Optus can’t ease congestion on its older network by shifting data to the LTE network in many places. So while I’d say the risk of speed hump is less, it’s not non-existent.



  • My company is running trials of Optus broadband in various locations in Sydney and QLD. Our tests get anywhere from 0.5mbit to 8mbit, but the high range is rare. The norm is sub 3mbit. IU am not used to Optus, only having used Telstra and Vodafone. However, our trials put them so far below the speed of Telstra and yes even Vodafone (in areas tested by us) that either they have always been bad, or they have already hit their speed hump.

    Their 3G may be acceptable to slowly load the odd web page, but if you want their links to run VPNs, you have no hope at all

  • Using the Optus network around Perth. I’d argue it has already reached a speed hump. Seems to be congestion, Seeing as I can browse fine in the suburbs at 2 in the morning but not during peak. Timeouts loading webpages is common.

  • “Hitting a speed hump” ??? Hitting? They’ve hit the “speed hump” a long time ago, they hit it so hard the wheels have fallen off the metaphorical car!

    Optus doesn’t have a “speed” problem, they have a network problem. It’s gotten to a point where you’re lucky to get a network connection at all, complaining about speed is a luxury you can’t afford, it would be like someone who’s starving complaining about not getting 5 star cuisine.

  • Angus, does that 94k increase include the uptake of services from other outfits running on the Optus network? I’m thinking particularly of Woolworths who have been marketing aggressively of late. Until very recently you are could get a sim + 45 day phone recharge for 15 bucks (5GB data incl.)
    I have been wondering about download speed impact from all of those new customers. Amaysim, in addition, have been advertising keenly.

  • Optus hit the speed hump years ago. So hard in fact the wheels feel off, the engine droped out, and the car blew up. The burnt out reckage is now sitting idle in the ditch on the side of the road.

  • I’ve living in the hunter and working at Maitland, while it’s not exactly rural there shouldn’t really be any reason why there is no reception on Optus in the main street let alone inside.

    Have changed to Telstra, yup more expensive and you need a degree in Astro physics to understand the prepaid pricing, but hey at least I get service.

  • I think Optus has already had a speed hump. I have lived and worked in the same general area for the last few years, and in the last 9-12 months I have noticed significant bandwidth issues. What formerly was a quite rapid connection and download speed on my iPhone 3G, is now often slower on my iPhone 4. Particularly at times of the day when there is a large number of people in a small area (eg. Railway stations in inner west and city). Those same locations outside of peak hrs offer far more reliable connection and better download speeds.

  • Hit the speed bump in Cairns and Canberra years ago. Canberra is next to unusable most of the time other than after midnight most days. Cairns is pretty average at least usable in most areas. Bit jeolous of next g users but dont want to go down the telstra path again. End of the day got wifi at home so no big lose

  • Optus is crap! When I signed up in May 2010 I could browse the internet from my office without a problem. Within 6 months network performance had deteriorated to such a degree that I generally could not do anything internet related. It has deteriorated much further since. I struggle to connect virtuall everywhere and yet my wife with her telstra iphone has fast internet most places. I am extremely unhappy with Optus. As soon as my contract is up I will be moving to Telstra.

    • I’m in the same situation with an Optus reseller. but I’ve been told if the service is unxctpale you are ok to break the contract without penalties.
      1sr go through the tech B.S. to prove it

  • I just switched from Virgin to Telstra over the weekend because, well, the service sucked. Had to break a 24 month contract 11 months in (though the exit fee was severely discounted) and couldn’t be happier… Works so much better than Optus ever did. The sad things is, Optus is better than Vodafone still, so the state of mobile networks in Oz isn’t great.

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